The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Opinion

July 12, 2013

Editorial: Alexandria needs plan for Yule Golf Course property

Alexandria is standing firm: There will be no crops on the property that was once Yule Golf Course. That leaves Yorktown farmer Dale Rinker, who bought the golf course, in a bind. But the city has the right to zone land as it sees fit.

Robert McCurdy put the golf course up for sale because it was losing money. Rinker paid nearly $1 million for the 156 acres, which were zoned residential. Surrounding the golf course are the homes of Yule Estates.

Rinker sought a zoning variance to let the land be used for crops, but the Board of Zoning Appeals would not grant that variance. Last week, the board voted a second time to reject Rinker's request.

Rinker has 30 days to appeal this motion and his attorney, Tom Beeman, said the matter is still pending before Alexandria planning authorities.

The Alexandria Action Committee was formed to try and stymie the sale, and actually raised about $400,000, but why would McCurdy even consider that when Rinker was offering more than double? There are hints that the committee might try again to buy the land, but probably one that wouldn't allow Rinker to make a profit or possibly break even.

Some of the complaints local homeowners have is that crop land will diminish their property values, be bad for drainage and be a source of wildlife. But what is to keep Rinker from letting the land, if it's not approved for farming, be overrun by weeds and become 156 acres of blight?

This seems to be a case of Alexandria and its residents knowing what they want but lacking the resources to accomplish that vision. One thing seems certain: the property might never be a golf course again. If McCurdy was losing money, others might struggle to make the site profitable as a golf course, as well. As Beeman noted last week, golf has fallen in popularity in the U.S., and 312 golf courses have closed in the country in the last two years.

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